Top 3 Tips to Green Your Nursery

Since your little one will be spending a ton of time in his new nursery, you'll want to take extra precaution with what you stick in there. Though Alexandra Zissu, one of the Ask an Organic Mom bloggers, likes to remind inquisitive mothers that all a baby actually needs is "a boob, a diaper, and a swaddling blanket," eventually that newborn will move to a crib and the babe will play with toys. There are several safety factors to think about in a nursery, and non-toxic alternatives to consider.

You should stay away from harsh chemical fumes during your pregnancy, and so should your baby outside the womb. While lead is no longer a concern in new conventional paint, you should be concerned about volatile organic compounds (VOCs)--the toxic fumes that off-gas from common household items such as paint or a new vinyl shower curtain. Use low- or no-VOC paints and make sure the room is well ventilated.

Check out these vibrant low-VOC paints. For more information on the risks of paint exposure for pregnant women, visit the American Pregnancy Association's website.

Mattresses are treated with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), chemical fire retardants that accumulate in our bodies and have been shown to affect the endocrine and nervous systems.

Organic cotton mattresses (check out the one from Green Baby) and natural wool ones are two green options.

Bamboo or organic cotton sheets and blankets are environmentally sound and won't irritate baby's sensitive skin. Q Collection Junior (seen here), Grow, and Coyuchi make stylish and colorful organic cotton baby bedding. Satara Home and Baby Store and Heart of Vermont are good resources for eco-friendly linens and mattresses.

Check out Healthy Child Healthy World's "make a safe bed" checklist to set up peaceful sleepy time for junior.

Look for furniture made from certified sustainable wood, or reclaimed materials. There are also companies that sell sturdy furniture designed to grow with your child, such as the cribs from Stokke and Oeuf.

Like with adult furniture, pressed wood products made with resins and glues that often have high levels of VOCs should be avoided. Plastic is not the best choice for kids' rooms. The material is made from petroleum and plastic items will likely end up in a landfill when you dispose of them. Sealants and paints should be nontoxic.

DucDuc, Argington, and Nest are companies that make sustainable furniture for kids. Pacific Rim makes solid maple furniture in the US and sources sustainably managed forests.

For more tips and information on greening our nursery, check out

Related Links:
6 Tips to Green Your Baby Shower
Easy Steps to a Greener, Healthier Diet
4 Ways to Green Your Kids' Lunch Boxes
7 Super Foods
Before Cleaning Up After Baby, Re-Think "Clean"

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.